Still thinking about that extra slice of pizza you indulged in last night? Or can’t let go of the M&Ms you scooped from the candy bowl? You’re not alone – food guilt is rampant among the health conscious.

My clients constantly voice guilt + shame around their food choices. I’ve been there too – overly strict with my diet because I believed I had to eat clean 100% of the time to be truly “healthy.” I am here to tell you this is no way to live. I dreaded happy hours with friends knowing I would eat something ‘unhealthy’ and then beat myself up about it, thus negating all the fun I had. Finally, the light bulb went off; this is not how I want to FEEL around food.

My thoughts + philosophy around what healthy eating really should be shifted when I realized: Food guilt works directly against good intentions to live a healthy well-balanced life.

Free Yourself From Food Guilt

1. Tune Into Your Mindset  

Our thoughts play a big role in our health and the stress we manifest from food shaming can harm us more than the ‘bad’ food itself. Replace negative statements such as, “I am going to gain weight now” with positive affirmations such as, “Nothing bad will happen from one unhealthy meal”.

2. Indulge in Moderation – 80/20 Approach  

I practice the 80/20 rule: 80% of what I eat is very clean and the other 20% is what I desire. If you need to break the habit of restriction, choose 2 days when you can have a little fun.

Indulge in food only when you have GOOD thoughts about it. Maybe it’s a glass of red wine that contains antioxidants, a homemade pizza with healthy ingredients, or your mom’s special coconut cake. I always ask my clients, “Do you really want the cupcakes from Safeway or would you rather hold our for something more special?”

3. Eliminate All Or Nothing Mentality

Eliminating food guilt does not mean go ahead and eat ALL the junk food you crave. Try to balance unhealthy with healthy food. If you have a cheeseburger and fries Friday night, kick off Saturday morning with a workout and power oatmeal bowl. Your end goal is to focus on enjoying life and being at peace with your body + mind!

In my practice, clients who can practice the 80/20 rule and release food guilt are able to maintain their weight loss because they are not on a restrictive eating plan. It’s possible to keep your healthy habits with occasional indulgences and still feel your best – it’s called a well-balanced life.